Using the GI Bill to Pay for Certificate Programs: A Complete Guide

Earning a professional certificate can help you gain skills and experience to advance your civilian career Luckily, the GI Bill offers financial assistance to pay for approved certificate programs In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explain everything you need to know about using your GI Bill benefits to cover the costs of earning a professional certificate.

Overview of the GI Bill Certificate Program

The GI Bill provides up to $2,000 per test reimbursement for licensing and certification exams. This includes:

  • The exam fee
  • Preparatory courses
  • Materials

To qualify, the test must be approved for GI Bill coverage. There’s no limit on the number of tests you can take, except you can’t get benefits to retake a test you already passed.

Your Post-9/11 or Montgomery GI Bill entitlement will be charged one month for each $2,414.18 used.

GI Bill-Approved Certificate Programs

Hundreds of certification tests across industries are approved for GI Bill reimbursement, Some common career fields include

  • Business – Project Management, Lean Six Sigma, PMP, CPA
  • Technology – CompTIA, Cisco, Microsoft, ISC2, AWS, ITIL
  • Healthcare – EMT, Phlebotomy, Medical Assistant, Radiology Tech
  • Skilled Trades – HVAC, Electrical, Plumbing, Auto Mechanic
  • Real Estate – Realtor, Appraiser, Inspector Licenses

Browse the full VA GI Bill Apprenticeship Finder for all covered certifications.

Using the GI Bill for Certification Exams

Follow these key steps to use your GI Bill for certification exams:

1. Find an Approved Program

  • Search for your desired certification on the VA’s approved programs list.

2. Submit Your GI Bill Application

  • Apply online at if you haven’t used your benefits before.

3. Enroll in Exam Preparation

  • The GI Bill can cover prep courses to help you pass.

4. Schedule Your Exam

  • Pick a test date and register for the exam.

5. Take Your Exam

  • Make sure to show up on time and take your test.

6. File Your Reimbursement Claim

  • Submit paperwork to get reimbursed for exam fees.

How Much Will the GI Bill Cover?

You can be reimbursed for the full cost of taking a certification test, up to $2,000 per test. This benefit can cover:

  • Exam registration/admin fees
  • Practice test fees
  • Study materials like books, flashcards
  • Exam prep classes and tutoring

There’s no limit on the number of approved certification tests you can take, as long as you have remaining GI Bill entitlement.

How To Get Reimbursed

After passing your exam, file a reimbursement claim with the VA to get paid back. You’ll need to provide:

  • Proof you took the test like a receipt
  • Proof you passed like a certificate
  • Bank account info for direct deposit

You can submit paperwork by mail, in person at a VA center, or online. Most claims are processed within 30 days.

Combining the GI Bill With Tuition Assistance

If you’re on active duty, you can combine the GI Bill with military Tuition Assistance to fully cover certification costs. Here’s how it works:

  • Use TA to pay upfront exam fees
  • Use GI Bill for reimbursement of any out-of-pocket costs
  • Get 100% of your costs covered!

Leveraging both programs maximizes your education funding.

Books and Study Materials

Any books, online practice tests, and other study materials required for your prep course can also be reimbursed by the GI Bill, in addition to the exam fees.

Be sure to save your study material receipts to submit with your claim. These will count toward the $2,000 benefit cap.

Taking Multiple Certification Tests

You can use the GI Bill to take multiple approved certification exams over time to get reimbursed for each one. Your available benefit entitlement will decrease with each reimbursement claim you submit.

Take advantage of this generous benefit to earn certs in different specialties throughout your civilian career. Each new credential can help you gain skills, demand a higher salary, and specialize in your profession.

Retaking a Failed Exam

If you unfortunately fail your certification exam on the first try, you can retake it and get reimbursed again by the GI Bill. There’s no limit on the number of times you can retake a test that you don’t pass.

However, you cannot get reimbursed for retaking an exam you already successfully passed just to renew your certification.

Renewal Exam Fees

Once you earn your initial certification, you’ll likely need to renew it after a certain period of time to keep it valid. The GI Bill can cover the fees for your renewal exams too.

As long as the renewal certification test is VA-approved, you can submit reimbursement claims every time you take the renewal exam.

GI Bill Entitlement Charges

When you use the GI Bill for certification tests, your remaining entitlement is reduced based on the amount reimbursed:

  • For the Post-9/11 GI Bill, you’re charged 1 month of benefits for each $2,414.18 paid out.

  • For the Montgomery GI Bill, your remaining program length is reduced by 1 month for each $2,414.18 of reimbursements.

Carefully weigh the value of the certification compared to the months of benefits you’ll have left over.

Getting GI Bill Benefits for Certifications

Applying for your benefits is the first step to use the GI Bill for licensing and certifications. Here are the key steps:


Submit a GI Bill Application:

  • Apply online at
  • You can also work with a school certifying official to apply.

Active Duty

Speak to your education counselor:

  • They can help you get started with an application.

Spouses & Dependents

Work with the VA:

  • Contact the VA hotline or a local VA rep for application help.

Combining with Employer Tuition Assistance

If your employer offers tuition assistance or reimbursement, consider combining it with the GI Bill to cover any exam fees the employer benefit doesn’t pay for. Leverage all options!

Getting the Most from Your GI Bill

Using your GI Bill for career certifications is a strategic way to maximize the value of your benefits. Key tips:

  • Research salaries for jobs requiring your desired certification to see the ROI.

  • Compare exam costs to your GI Bill entitlement to see if it’s worthwhile.

  • Use prep courses to pass the first time and avoid retakes.

  • Take certification tests while working to advance your civilian career.

Earning professional certifications can make you extremely marketable and open doors in your chosen field. Get the most mileage from your GI Bill by using it for credentials that boost your expertise, skills, and networking power.

Gi Bill Pay For Certificate Program

Keep Up With Your Education Benefits

Whether you need a guide on how to use your GI Bill, want to take advantage of tuition assistance and scholarships, or get the lowdown on education benefits available for your family, can help. Subscribe to to have education tips and benefits updates delivered directly to your inbox.

Amanda Miller is an editor and writer for specializing in coverage of military and veteran pay and benefits. She became a journalist in the 1990s, began covering the military in 2007 for Military Times, and has since contributed to a number of military-oriented publications including Military Officer Magazine, The War Horse, and Air & Space Forces Magazine. Read Full Bio © Copyright 2024 All rights reserved. This article may not be republished, rebroadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without written permission. To reprint or license this article or any content from, please submit your request

Overview of the GI Bill Certification Program

In todays business and federal workforce, having a license or certification can open doors. Many professions, such as jobs subject to state or other government regulations, require a license. Certification is voluntary but frequently sought. Thats because getting a certification can help you get, keep or advance in a job.

In professions such as mechanic, realtor, medical technician, project manager, computer network engineer and many more, its clear that certifications play a key role.

You can receive reimbursement of up to $2,000 per test but not more than the actual cost of the test. You can receive benefits to retake a test if you fail. The number of tests you can take is unlimited, except that you cant receive benefits to retake a test you passed.

Note: Your total months of entitlement to VA education benefits will be reduced each time you use your benefits for licensing and certification. For the Post-9/11 GI Bill in the 2024-2025 academic year, you will be charged one month of GI Bill benefits for each $2,414.18 used.

You may receive this benefit if youre eligible for:

If you have never filed an application for education benefits, you need to apply online via the VAs website.

Full BAH Benefits for Student Veterans in Online Programs

Does the GI Bill pay for certification tests?

The GI Bill can reimburse you for licensing and certification tests that have been specifically approved for the GI Bill. The Department of Veterans Affairs can pay you for the cost of the test as well as any preparatory course that is also approved. The following is a summary of the GI Bill license and certification reimbursement program.

Does VA pay for GI Bill certification?

(U.S. Air Force photo/Airman 1st Class Alyssa M. Akers) The Department of Veterans Affairs provides reimbursement for licensing and certification tests that have been specifically approved for VA education benefits, including the Post-9/11 GI Bill.

How much does GI Bill Pay?

The amount you get depends on which GI Bill program you use and what school you go to. We pay you at the end of each month for the hours you’ve spent training. Post-9/11 GI Bill: We pay a monthly rate that depends on the type of school you’re enrolled in.

What is the GI Bill license and certification reimbursement program?

The following is a summary of the GI Bill license and certification reimbursement program. In today’s business and federal workforce, having a license or certification can open doors. Many professions, such as jobs subject to state or other government regulations, require a license. Certification is voluntary but frequently sought.

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